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NATO airstrike kills eight civilians, Afghan police say

TREND News Agency

August 6, 2011

Eight Afghan civilians including women and children were killed by a NATO airstrike in southern Afghanistan, a police official said Saturday, DPA reported

The victims died after a coalition patrol came under attack in the Nad Ali district of Helmand province, district police chief Shadi Khan said.

A NATO plane bombed a house in response, killing eight members of one family, Khan said.

"One of the coalition soldiers wounded in the attack died later and the troops called for an airstrike," he said.

A spokesman for NATO-led forces confirmed that a convoy was attacked by the insurgents with rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire in Nad Ali district on Friday.

"Shortly following the engagement, coalition forces received reports that civilians were being held captive by the insurgents and may have been present during the airstrike," Justin Brockhoff said.

Military officials met with local leaders to discuss the events and were reviewing reports, he added.

Civilian causalities have been a sensitive issue and a matter of tension between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Western allies.

The first half of 2011 has been the deadliest six months for civilians since the decade-long war began, according to a United Nations report.

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